Board Looks to Add Changes to Da Vinci Facilities Plan, Move Da Vinci 9th Grade to Valley Oak Campus


Back in November, the Davis voters overwhelmingly supported Measure M, a school facilities bond that will provide around $150 million for upgrading school facilities.  This followed the board’s approval in June 2018 of the DJUSD Facilities Master Plan (FMP).

While the Facilities Master Plan included a program revision to Da Vinci Charter Academy (DVCA), relocating all DVCA seventh through ninth grade students from the Da Vinci Junior High campus (currently at the Emerson Junior High campus) to the Da Vinci High School campus (located at the Valley Oak campus), that funding was not included in the $150 million which the voters approved last November.

However, after the election, parents, teachers and students at Da Vinci High came forward to push for the board to consider long term facilities needs as part of the initial round of facilities improvements following the passage of Measure M.

As one person who spoke at a February board meeting put it, “With the passage of Measure M, I’m glad to see that the district has the money to address its facility needs, however, I’m disappointed with how little of that money will be going toward Da Vinci Facilities.”

Some of the concerns raised by the students, faculty and parents were lack of a dedicated science classroom, lack of PE locker rooms, and lack of an appropriately sized parking lot.

The campus was originally designed as an Elementary School and the general consensus was that if it is to remain a high school campus, there needed to be upgrades to the facilities.

As a parent put it: “The students of Da Vinci deserve a campus that reflects the high quality of work that they do.”

“They have (been successful) with subpar facilities,” a representative of their facilities subcommittee read at the board meeting.  “The Da Vinci High School is currently housed in the back of one of the oldest campuses in our district.  A campus that was built to hold an elementary school and is inadequate to meet the needs of high school students.

“The Da Vinci students have been promised an appropriate facility for the past 15 years and thus far those promises have gone unfulfilled,” she said.

As a result of this pressure, the board directed staff to “revise the educational program vision and related facilities needs for these components of the FMP.”

The district staff brought a program history and revised proposals to the board on March 21 and April 18, with a proposal that included moving Da Vinci Junior High ninth graders to Da Vinci High School campus.

Such a move would create a collateral need of moving the current Valley Oak preschool programming.

The proposal includes funding to modernize and reconfigure existing classrooms, upgrades to site utilities and infrastructure, additional science programs, improvements to the music and drama program, improvements to the multipurpose room and student unions, and improvements for the PE program, among other things.

The plan shows the development of  a new car parking lot along with a new drop off area.

Potential funding for all of this includes the following: Capitalization and use of CFD revenue funds beyond 2027 including a “$25 million increase to total funding through debt financing” with COP borrowing beginning in 2025.

They also believe they can tap into a potential future State Bond match for Charter Facilities Funds for a 50/50 match.

They can utilize interest on Bond Funds and tap into developer fees from future residential projects in the community.

At least two critical issues, however, were not raised in the district staff report.  The first is that this funding did not come before the voters when they approved the facilities bond last November.  The second is that the plan now calls for a grades 9 through 12 campus for Da Vinci, while Davis High’s program remains grades 10 to through 12, creating a potential disparity of programs.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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2 thoughts on “Board Looks to Add Changes to Da Vinci Facilities Plan, Move Da Vinci 9th Grade to Valley Oak Campus”

  1. Greg Brucker

    The third issue is what happens to Emerson-DV Jr High. With such a numbers shift, there will very likely be some serious changes to contend with on many levels (from culture to class offerings to everything in between), not to mention the unanswered questions revolving around a loss of 9th grade elective opportunities and uninterrupted educational pathways for the students that go to DV for 9th grade. With no long range plan to support the rest of the Emerson-DV campus, nor those potential 9th grade students, this leaves those students and the Emerson-DV Jr High campus at a loss, with serious parity and equity implications when compared with the other jr high schools.

    Emerson already sufferes from jr. high residence/attendance boundary issues, which were never fixed after Harper opened, and moving students off campus without understanding the actual impacts on Emerson (and without a plan to take Emerson forward) in its wake leaves Emerson in a lesser position to offer an equitable experience to Holmes and Harper (which would also leave DV 7th and 8th graders at a loss). And this would be an unacceptable result for the Davis community.

  2. Sharla Cheney

    The plan seems to be a strategy to increase enrollment at DV.   The original plan was to move 7th-9th to DV.   Moving the 9th graders to DV would allow an increase in enrollment at Emerson for 7th & 8th grade, so Emerson will have to adjust, but maintain enrollment.

    Currently, a third of the students at DaVinci come in from out of town.  To increase enrollment at DV, likely the students will have to come from out of town.  Having DV serve 9th-12th would then match up with other Districts that have K-6/7-8/9-12, or K-8 schools and students from other cities would have a more seamless transition to Emerson as their middle school and then to DV,  or straight to DV from a K-8 school.



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